In The Book of Zohar, it is written: Evoking fear on both sides of love (during the periods of “trials” and the periods of mercy and benevolence) is essential. During the time of mercy and success on His Paths, it is necessary to trepidation awakened before the Creator to avoid committing sins and to prevent our love for Him “cooling down.”
There is no such thing as the fear of punishment. There is no retribution whatsoever. Only to our egoistic desire does it look that we are being punished for our wrongdoings.
Similar to how we egoists relate to each other in this realm, we assume that there is either a reward or a punishment for everything. Our whole life goes by between these two categories and clarifications: “How can I feel better, how can I reward myself? How can I hide from punishments?”
The spiritual path lies above this level. There is no egoistic reckoning whatsoever, neither with the plus nor minus sign. There, it has nothing to do with rewards or retributions. In spirituality, we are the ones who create a scale of spiritual recompenses and paybacks.
When one is given a chance to care about others, it is a reward. If for some reason one is unable to take care of others, one considers it to be a punishment.
The true reality can be attained only when we bring our bodily sensors outside ourselves and begin sensing life not internally, but externally. We have to acknowledge and feel it. That’s why it is said: “You will see your world while you are still alive.” However, moving in this direction becomes possible only if we connect fear with love.
From Baal HaSulam’s and Rabash’s articles and from our own experience, we know that love never comes without fear. Real, spiritual fear cannot occur if it is not accompanied by love. We shiver because we are scared that our love can weaken or love of those who care about us will diminish. We are in distress, not because we just enjoy being together as two egoists who are delighted to be with each other. Rather, we worry that we won’t let the Creator love us because we don’t please Him by loving our neighbors.
These are mutual sensations. We experience them only at the level of fear. Fear is necessary to make us rise above our egoism and work with it inversely.
… In order to avoid falling to wickedness and diminishing our love for the Creator, we have to connect fear with love.
The same happens on the “other side of love,” at the time of stringent trials when He judges us for our deeds. Awakening of fear before the Creator is essential so that we won’t fall into the state of judging ourselves according to egoistic criteria.
From the Convention In St. Petersburg “Day One” 9/19/14, lesson 1